What is the legality of prostitution in Cyprus?

Is Prostitution Legal in Cyprus?

Prostitution in Cyprus is a complex issue with legal ambiguities. While selling sexual services is not criminalized, the related activities such as operating a brothel, living off the proceeds of prostitution, and encouraging or forcing someone into prostitution are illegal. In the northern part of Cyprus, the Turkish-controlled area, prostitution is entirely illegal.

What Are the Penalties and Enforcement Measures for Prostitution in Cyprus?

There are several penalties and enforcement measures for those found guilty of engaging in illegal prostitution-related activities in Cyprus:

  • Operating a brothel: Operating a brothel is punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
  • Living off the proceeds of prostitution: Anyone found guilty of living off the proceeds of prostitution can be sentenced to up to two years imprisonment.
  • Encouraging or forcing someone into prostitution: Encouraging or forcing someone into prostitution is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment.
  • Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation: Traffickers can face up to 20 years imprisonment and substantial fines.

Despite these penalties, enforcement measures against prostitution-related activities in Cyprus are often criticized as insufficient and ineffective. Law enforcement officers have been accused of turning a blind eye to brothels and other illegal activities related to prostitution.

What are the Local Terms and Expressions for Prostitution in Cyprus?

In Cyprus, prostitution is commonly referred to as αγορά αγάπης (agora agapis), which translates to love market in English. The term πορνεία (porneia) is also used to describe prostitution in general, while πουτάνα (putana) is a derogatory term for a prostitute.

What is the History of Prostitution in Cyprus?

The history of prostitution in Cyprus can be traced back to ancient times. In the Hellenistic period, prostitution was considered a necessary evil, and brothels were often located near the agora, the central public space of a city. During the Roman period, prostitution was more regulated, and brothels were required to be registered and pay taxes.

During the Ottoman Empire, prostitution continued to exist in Cyprus but was subject to stricter regulations. With the establishment of British colonial rule in the late 19th century, the British authorities attempted to regulate and control prostitution through the Contagious Diseases Acts, which required the registration and medical examination of prostitutes.

After Cyprus gained independence in 1960, the new government adopted a more liberal approach to prostitution, decriminalizing the act of selling sex while criminalizing related activities. However, this approach has been criticized for its inability to effectively address the issue of prostitution and human trafficking in the country.

What Government Laws and Policies Are Linked to Prostitution in Cyprus?

The main laws and policies related to prostitution in Cyprus are:

  • The Criminal Code: The Criminal Code of Cyprus criminalizes various prostitution-related activities, such as operating a brothel, living off the proceeds of prostitution, and encouraging or forcing someone into prostitution.
  • The Law on the Fight against Trafficking and Exploitation of Persons and the Protection of Victims: This law, enacted in 2007, aims to combat human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and provides protection and support to victims. The law also imposes severe penalties on traffickers, including imprisonment and fines.
  • The National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings: This plan, adopted in 2010, sets out the government’s strategy for combating human trafficking, including measures to raise public awareness, strengthen law enforcement, and provide assistance to victims.

In addition to these laws and policies, Cyprus is a signatory to various international conventions and agreements related to prostitution and human trafficking, such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

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